While the Big Apple is undoubtedly the front-runner for its ball-dropping New Year’s Eve festivities, there are plenty of other party-worthy cities with just as much glitter (and some added room to breathe, too).
Atlanta’s Peach Drop, the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in the Southeast, has been a tradition since 1989. This year’s event begins with hours of family-friendly activities such as face painting and balloon artists and ends with a show emceed by comedian David Koechner and headlined by R&B beauty Janelle Monáe. When the clock strikes midnight, an 800-pound peach descends to the ground surrounded by a shower of confetti and sparkling fireworks. You can also welcome the new year at the historic Fox Theatre’s lavish Cleopatra Ball, with queen and pharaoh bartenders, a hieroglyphic laser light show, two different DJ-fueled dance floors, and VIP table packages. And if you’re feeling up for it on New Year’s Day, head to Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The St. Regis Atlanta for a festive brunch, complete with a Bloody Mary cart to keep the party going in full swing.
Make your way to The Driskill hotel for an elegant New Year’s Eve dinner. The charming historic property will serve a five-course prix fixe feast at the Driskill Grill with dishes such as a salt prawn and endive salad, as well as a duck confit tartine and smoked tomato-lobster bisque, and wine pairings will be selected by the restaurant’s sommelier. For a bit of live entertainment, Willie Nelson returns to Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater for his annual Willie & Friends Family New Year showcase. Further south, the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark is throwing a Mediterranean New Year’s Eve party, complete with a four-course dinner, hookah bar, live samba shows and belly dancing.
The historic Lord Baltimore Hotel will come alive for the sixth annual Charm City Countdown, which pays tribute to the Gilded Age with a Great Gatsby theme this year. About 1,500 party-goers will dance and revel across five floors and 12 different party zones, which include a photo booth, karaoke area, casino, specialty bars, chill lounge, and dance floors. But if you prefer to be outdoors, the Inner Harbor boasts one of the biggest fireworks displays in the area, and one of the best seats in the house is aboard the USS Constellation at the annual New Year’s Eve Deck Party. Here you can enjoy appetizers and desserts paired with local ales, wines, mulled cider, and cannon firing aplenty.
Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Montage Beverly Hills offers several different ways to ring in the New Year — at one of two seatings at Four-Star Scarpetta, which features an à la carte menu and a DJ/live music until 1 a.m.; a 1940s themed gala at the Marquesa Ballroom with a five-course wine-paired dinner; a live band at Parq Bar; and even a family-friendly celebration at Paintbox, complete with a magic show, dinner and karaoke. Should you be in the mood to party hop, a Hollywood VIP pass will get you past the velvet ropes of four to six different parties at clubs in Hollywood, including the Cleopatra Ball at the famed Egyptian Theatre and a black-and-white bash at the fashion-inspired club Couture. And if you’d prefer to set sail, go aboard The Queen Mary in Long Beach to help celebrate the 80th anniversary of its maiden voyage at an epic New Year’s Eve party, which will feature a worldly journey to commemorate the various ports visited by the ship on its initial trip, including Bombay, Rio de Janeiro, New York City, Cherbourg (France), and Clydebank (Scotland).
Afrojack and Pharrell Williams are co-hosting New Year’s Eve at the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Fontainebleau Miami Beach, which will feature poolside performances by the two hosts. Famous DJ Tiësto will continue the party until 7 a.m. at LIV, too. Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Miami will feature a towering seafood bar and champagne pairings in its lobby, and the hotel’s Five-Star restaurant, Azul, is offering two different seatings for a decadent dinner, with dishes such as D’Artagnan lamb saddle and Norwegian halibut en persillade. Another lively option for celebrating New Year’s Eve includes the Catalina Hotel & Beach Club. The property will transform into a Brazilian carnival fest hosted by Jessica Clark from HBO’s True Blood, featuring live Latin music, samba and fire dancers, drummers, and capoeira performers.
Photo Courtesy of Cory Ryan